• Anthony Nadeau

Press Release: Twenty Years Strong! Whistler Film Festival Champions Canadian Content Creators

Updated: Nov 14


Press Release


Whistler, B.C.– The 20th annual Whistler Film Festival (WFF) is pleased to announce the 24 finalists selected to participate in three of its signature talent programs: Power Pitch, Doc Lab, and the Indigenous Filmmaker Fellowship.

These programs represent three of WFF’s nine talent programs being offered for 2020 which provide creative and business immersion experiences for over 51 Canadian artists including directors, producers, screenwriters, actors, and musicians to advance their projects and craft.

“In our 20th year, we continue to innovate and deliver talent development programs that respond to the needs of an ever-evolving industry. WFF’s talent programs have been transformed to take full advantage of the opportunities that online delivery provide and include more mentorship, longer-term engagement, and increased access to more industry experts than ever before,” said Angela Heck, WFF’s Managing Director. ”We are proud to welcome back several WFF alumni who are excelling as a direct result of our talent programs and festival, to mentor this year’s participants and continue to build the relationships that are the foundation of the Whistler experience.”

This year saw an unprecedented number of high-quality submissions for the 8th edition of the Indigenous Filmmaker Fellowship. With the additional support of the Canadian Media Fund, Bell Fund, Creative BC, APTN, and Eagle Vision, WFF has invited twelve Canadian filmmakers to participate in the program, which focuses on strengthening and advancing short-form scripted projects, including:

(Copyright Whistler Film Festival 2020)

  • Cole Vandale (BC) with INDIAN IN THE CHILD

  • Jonelle Belcourt (AB) with MY ROOMMATE

  • Dawn Nagazina (AB) with The SUPERLATIVE

  • Jordan Waunch (BC) with FROM THE SHADOWS

  • Rachelle George (BC) with SEE THE WOMAN

  • Whitney Horne (Y.T.) with JUHWEHNNI

  • Nicholas Marinos (BC) with A.I. WINTER

  • Eva Grant (BC) with MEDICINE LINE

  • Joyce Delaronde (MB) with AQQALU INTRODUCTION

  • Shaelyn Johnston (BC) with MEMEGWESI

  • Chantelle Marie Anderson (AB) with BALLS OUT

  • Odessa Shuquaya (BC) with SKIN OF A DRUM

The Indigenous Filmmaker Fellowship is led by facilitator and mentor Camille Beaudoin, Co-founder and CEO, Mosaic Entertainment, and mentors Jules Arita Koostachin, Filmmaker, VisJuelles Productions Inc.and Sheldon Elter, producer, writer, performer.

WFF’s Doc Lab, which focuses on advancing projects in development, is supported by Creative BC and Knowledge Network, and is facilitated by Deb Wainwright, Documentary Director, Young Minds Entertainment Inc., and mentored by John Ritchie, award-winning Executive Producer at John Ritchie Productions, Cari Green, award-winning documentary producer and Julia Ivanova, an award-winning documentary director. The six Canadian documentary filmmakers selected to participate in WFF’s Doc Lab are:

(Copyright Whistler Film Festival, 2020)

  • Ryan Reaney (ON) with WRECKS!

  • Ashley Hirt (MB) with FIP WARRIORS

  • Michelle Ouellett (ON) with FOUR YEARS LATER

  • Sophia Biedka (BC) with IF YOU MUST

  • Ana Carrizales (BC) with SHAMAN’S SHADOW

  • Tristan Oliver (BC) with UNDIAGNOSED

Six Canadian producers have been selected to participate in WFF’s Power Pitch workshop and competition, which is designed to fine-tune feature project packages and pitching skills. The finalists will be competing for a $36,000 grand prize package that includes a $25,000 post-production credit from Company 3 Method Ltd., and a $1,000 cash prize plus a $10,000 lighting and grip production credit from William F. White International Inc. Additionally, the winner will receive the opportunity to meet privately with each jury member to receive invaluable feedback and advice on their project as well as forge formidable relationships with key industry executives. The seven Canadian producers selected to participate in the Power Pitch are:

(Copyright Whistler Film Festival, 2020)

  • Jason Karman (BC) with GOLDEN DELICIOUS

  • Krista Rand (BC) with RE: UNITED

  • Bryan Demore (BC) with THE GATE

  • Sibel Guvenc (ON) with LOYA

  • Simon Paluck (ON) with PAPER CRANES

  • Todd McCauley (BC) with THE MEDICINE LINE

  • Jaskaran Singh (ON) with JERSEY BOY

The Power Pitch facilitator is Carole Kirschner, Director of the WGA Showrunner Training Program & CBS Diversity Writers Mentoring Program and Entertainment Career Coach. The jury includes Naveen Prasad, Co-Founder, Impossible Objects; Will Machin, Partner and CEO of Metro International Entertainment (UK); and Gosia Kamela, Production Executive, Drama & Feature Film Original Programming, Bell Media. Power Pitch is supported by Creative BC, Company 3 Method Ltd., and William F. White International Inc.

William F. White International Inc. has come on board to support the Producers Lab and will provide each producer moving on to phase two with a $10,000 production credit until December 31, 2022. The participants  moving on to phase two of the program that takes place leading up to and during WFF are:  

(Copyright Whistler Film Festival, 2020)

  • Alex Duong (BC) with BREAKING BREAD

  • Sibel Guvenc (ON) with LOYA

  • Camille Hollett-French (BC) with MAN IN PIECES

  • Kate Kroll (BC) with RED WINGS

  • Todd McCauley (BC) with THE MEDICINE LINE

  • Krista Rand (BC) with RE: UNITING

The Producers Lab is facilitated by John Galway (ON), President, Harold Greenberg Fund. The Producers Lab faculty includes Producers Lab alumna Lauren Grant (ON), Producer, Clique Pictures (RIOT GIRLS); Jason James (BC), Producer/Director, Resonance Films Inc. (ENTANGLEMENT); and Damon D’Oliveira (ON), Producer/Founder, Conquering Lion Pictures Inc. (BOOK OF NEGROES). The Producers Lab is presented in association with Telefilm Canada and is sponsored by Creative BC and Netflix.

The Screenwriters Lab finalists that are moving onto phase two of the program that takes place leading up to and during WFF include:  

(Copyright Whistler Film Festival, 2020)

  • Hedyeh Bozorgzadeh (BC) with BROTHER, MAN (Winner of WFF19’s Power Pitch Competition)

  • Brendan Brady (ON) with MIRACLE MOTHER

  • Gemma Holdway (BC) with REMINISCENT

  • Scott Jones and Richard Martin (ON) with MY FABULOUS NEW ORGASM 

  • Jessica Landry (MB) with MY ONLY SUNSHINE

  • Victor Nicolle (BC) with IT’S ALL TOO BEAUTIFUL

The Screenwriters Lab is co-facilitated by Ruth Atkinson (LA), Script Consultant and Story Editor, who is also a returning mentor for the program, and Patricia Gruben (BC), who recently retired from her position as Associate Professor of Film at SFU’s School of Contemporary Art and was formerly the Director of the Praxis Centre for Screenwriters. Program faculty also includes Dennis Foon (BC), Screenwriter (INDIAN HORSE), Novelist, and Playwright; and Patrick Whistler (ON), Screenwriter (DREAMLAND, MOBILE HOMES, and WEIRDOS) and Story Editor. The Screenwriters Lab is presented in association with Telefilm Canada and is sponsored by Creative BC and Netflix.

Poised to bring content creators to the ‘pinnacle of success’ in the film, television and digital media space, WFF’s talent programs are open to Canadian independent filmmakers, creators and talent at various stages in their careers and are offered at a nominal cost to participants beyond an application fee. Worthy projects are considered for showcasing at the Whistler Film Festival and Content Summit, where selected creators are presented with further opportunities to advance their current and future projects. Program participants receive year-round support as well as access to the Whistler Film Festival in the year of their program, and to its Alumni community, which is over 2,250 strong. 

From December 1 to 20, WFF will deliver its 20th-anniversary edition virtually to a national audience over 20 days, with film viewing available until December 31 depending on the ticket package or pass purchased. Highlights of WFF’s 2020 model feature a robust selection of up to 100 films that will be available online throughout Canada with a 24-hour window in which to view films once ordered. Some restrictions apply in Quebec on a film by film basis. 50% of all net proceeds will be shared with the filmmakers or Canadian rights holders. Beyond the film-on-demand experience, WFF will celebrate as many films as possible through engaging, interactive online conversations with the filmmakers and their top talent as part of its Signature Series. WFF will also welcome back 20 celebrated filmmakers and actors, who are WFF Alumni and will feature three online special events to mark its 20th anniversary. WFF’s Content Summit returns with filmmaker and talent talks, and unique industry initiatives over the three week period, featuring about 30 interactive sessions and meetings, and welcoming established industry leaders and content creators to its virtual mountain home to discover, network, and explore the ideas and actions shaping media entertainment. 

The Festival’s online box office is now open at whistlerfilmfestival.com/tickets for film ticket packages and early-bird industry passes until October 31. Individual film and event tickets go on sale on November 5 when the full film lineup is announced. Tickets can be purchased online. Sign up for one-on-one meetings with industry executives will be available for Industry Pass holders effective November 12.


The Whistler Film Festival is funded by the Government of Canada through Telefilm Canada, and by the Province of British Columbia and the Resort Municipality of Whistler through the Resort Municipality Initiative, is sponsored by Creative BC, Cineplex, Netflix, Variety, Tourism Whistler, and RE/MAX Sea to Sky Real Estate.

Discover more at whistlerfilmfestival.com


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